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“ Let me bless thee,” I cried, "for thy mission of love,
“Oh say to what name shall I fashion
“ THE ANGEL OF LIFE is my title above,
“ But short-sighted mortals have christen’d me
DIRGE FOR A LIVING POET.*
What! shall the mind of bard-historian-sage,
Be prostrate laid upon oblivion's bier,
Shall darkness quench the beacon of our age,
“ Without the meed of one melodious tear?”
Will none, with genius like his own,
Mourn the fine intellect o’erthrown,
That died in giving life to deathless heirs ?
Are worthier voices mute? then I
The Muse's humblest votary,
Will pour my wailful dirge and sympathising prayers.
* Written during the last illness of Southey.
may I mourn that mental sun's eclipse, For in his study have I sate enshrined, And reverently listen'd while his lips
Master'd the master-spirits of mankind,
As his expanding wisdom took
New range from his consulted book.
Oh, to what noble thoughts didst thou give birth,
Thou poet-sage, whose life and mind
In mutual perfectness combined
The spirit's loftiest flight, with purest moral worth !
Behold the withering change! amid the rays
That form a halo round those volumed wits,
Amid his own imperishable lays
In silent, blank fatuity he sits !
Seeking a respite from his curse,
His body, now his spirit's hearse,
Still haunts that book-charm'd room, for there alone
Thought-gleams illume his wand'ring eyes,
As lightnings flicker o'er the skies
Where the departed sun in cloudless glory shone.
Oh withering, woful change-oh living death!
Lo! where he strays at fancy's aimless beck,
On his dementate brow the titled wreath,
A mournful mockery of reason's wreck.
Roaming by Derwent's silent shore
Or dark-hued Greta's rushing roar,
A human statue! His unconscious stare
Knows not the once familiar spot,
Knows not the partner of his lot,
Who, as she guides him, sobs a broken-hearted prayer.
Oh flood and fell, lake, moorland, valley, hill!
Mourn the dark bard who sang your praise of yore.
Oh Rydal-Falls, Lodore, and Dungeon Gill!
Down the rock's cheek your tearful gushes pour.
Ye crag-envelop'd Tarns that sleep
hush'd craters, wake and weep. —
Ye mountains ! hide your sorrowing heads in cloud :
As sobbing winds around ye moan;
And clothe your giant forms in vapour's mourning shroud. Why make appeal to these? Ye good and wise
Who worshipp'd at his intellectual shrine,
Ye kindred natures, who can sympathise
With genius 'reft of reason's light divine,
Ye whom his learning, virtue, lays,
Taught, guided, charm'd in other days,
Let all your countless voices be combined,
As on your knees, ye pour on high
This choral supplicating cry
Restore, restore, O God! our poet's wand'ring mind!